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Fall of a Sparrow: Bresciano's First Case by Sam Benady, Mary Chiappe


THE BRESCIANO MYSTERIES are set in the 18th and 19th century, in Gibraltar, Morocco and Spain. It will be a full-blown series featuring a Gibraltarian detective: a first in detective fiction! Giovanni Bresciano is half-Genoese and half-English and, while he is quick to detect foul play and unearth clues, he also goes down blind alleys and blunders en route to the solution - which he reaches, after a fashion!


The idea of a Gibraltarian detective was developed by Sam Benady and Mary Chiappe a couple of years ago, and they set their first book, The Murder in Whirligig Lane (published in June 2010 by Calpe Press) in 1813 during a yellow fever epidemic. Bresciano is 51, a widower. But, as they wrote the book, they found themselves growing as interested in the character as in the puzzle presented by a corpse that is not `yellow enough' to have died from the fever. As a result, they began to sketch out further plots for succeeding books.


So now comes Fall of a Sparrow. Though it is the second book to be written, it is actually about the first case Bresciano solved, when he was a callow eighteen-year old during the Great Seige in 1779.


"Fall of a Sparrow" is the first in a 7 book series about the Gibraltar siege between the 17th & 18th century, it tells about Giovanni Bresciano a young half-Genoese and half-English amateur Sherlock Holmes, who takes it upon himself to investigate mysterious death's which the authorities believe are accident's, but he believes otherwise. It's a great read, it provides an insight about life during those terrible times that the garrison and the local population endured.


It's exciting to read about the streets and alleyways the character walked through which I recognise. There is a passage in which Giovanni is facing a defensive wall overlooking the bay with Spanish war ships blockading the entrance to Gibraltar, nowadays if you stand on that same spot, you can still see the wall but beyond that the sea has been reclaimed and houses have been built all around the area.

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